Using terminology such as “dongbongles” and “poo brain”, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion isn’t intended for a mature audience. And it’s all the better for it.
The latest in a series of video games based on Cartoon Network’s popular animated series, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion follows human boy Finn and his anthropomorphic morphing dog Jake on a new adventure. The land of Ooo has become flooded, and it’s up to the pair – and their friends – to figure out how and why, and to restore the world back to its former, unflooded state.
If you’re a fan of Adventure Time, Pirates of the Enchiridion won’t disappoint. The game is packed full of the television series’ wonderfully immature humour, and each character is just as delightful as ever. Plenty of the series’ most popular faces pop up, too – Marceline and BMO join Finn and Jake as main party characters, and you’ll encounter Princess Bubblegum, the Ice King, Lumpy Space Princess and Flame Princess, among others.
In terms of gameplay, it’s fun, but it doesn’t attempt to break any moulds. Pirates of the Enchiridion is a (sort of) open world adventure with RPG elements and turn-based combat. I say “sort of” open world because, while you technically can wander off under your own volition, the game’s story is linear to a fault. There are a few side quests you can pick up along the way, but really, there’s not a great deal to find away from the beaten path.
The main sense of freedom comes from the game’s overworld. Commandeering a boat, Finn and Jake and friends will travel from island to island in order to figure out why the world is flooded. There are a few small islands not tied to the main story that you can briefly explore, but mostly, you’ll be going back and forth between the same four or five land masses. Navigating the seas can occasionally be a pain thanks to obstacles in your way, but with a map available and BMO’s somewhat handy navigation system, you’ll never get too lost.
Sailing is pretty fun thanks to the boat being simple to control, but there’s not a great deal to it. You’ll sometimes come across some floating crates that can be collected for items and coins, and very occasionally you’ll encounter another boat which you can engage in combat. The most exciting thing to happen is the appearance of a big, pink Kraken. It’ll pop up randomly, but one hit with your cannon will see it go away again. After you’ve encountered and hit it so many times, you’ll be rewarded with loot, but it’s rather anticlimactic.
What the flip?
Off the boat and onto dry land, Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion feels more like a basic 3D platformer. You’ll be travelling from point A to B, passing a few obstacles along the way that will require you to use your team’s special abilities. Jake can multiply in size in order to reach high places or to pass the rest of the group across gaps safely. And BMO can unlock digital locks on gates with her superior computer brain. You can wander around to find treasure, and hit breakable objects to be rewarded with coins and items, but there’s little else away from the main story to be found on most islands.
The main meat of the game comes in the form of combat. Every location is littered with enemies, all waiting to kick your animated butts should you wander too close to them. Battles play out in traditional turn-based style. You can instruct your party to use a standard attack, use an item or unleash a special attack. A power bar fills gradually each time you attack, and that power can be spent, across the team, on signature moves that do more damage than a standard attack. It’s basic, but entertaining, and enemies’ unwieldy attack patterns keep you on your toes. Incoming attacks tend to do a lot of damage, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on everyone’s health gauges, ready to use healing items when necessary. Your heroes never regain health, not even when levelling up, so you’ll get through a lot of items while you play.
Oh my glob
While the gameplay I’ve described is pretty basic and not particularly exciting, it’s brought to life tenfold by the enchanting world of Adventure Time and its cast. If this had been a game populated with unknown characters, it wouldn’t at all be memorable in any way. But thanks to Adventure Time’s fantastic humour, colourful art style and characters we can’t help but adore, it manages to stand on its own two feet. Even if you’re not that familiar with the TV series, I challenge you not to at least chuckle at some of the one liners. The game’s absolutely packed with jokes and humour, and most delightful of all are the mini sea-shanties that Finn and Jake sing together while sailing between islands. They’re few and far between, but each time one kicked in, I couldn’t help but grin.
Taking between five and six hours to complete the main story, Pirates of the Enchiridion isn’t the longest game you’re going to play this year. It’s not even the most original, or most engaging. But it has charm, fun, and character in droves. If you’re looking for something a little more laid-back that’s likely to put a smile on your face, then you can’t go far wrong with Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion.